Nighttime Heartburn: 12 Sleep Tips
12 Tips for Nighttime Heartburn Relief continued...
6. Steer clear of late-night meals or big meals. Avoid eating meals
two to three hours before bedtime to reduce stomach acid and allow the stomach
to partially empty its contents before you sleep, suggests the American
Gastroenterological Association. Because large meals put pressure on your
stomach, try eating a smaller meal in the evening to help prevent nighttime
7. Relax when you eat. Feeling stressed when you eat in a rush can
cause the stomach to produce more stomach acids. Relax after your meal as well
-- but don't lay down. Some pros recommend trying relaxation techniques like
deep breathing or meditation.
8. Stay upright after eating. This reduces the risk of acid
creeping up your esophagus. You'll also want to avoid bending over or straining
to lift heavy objects.
9. Wait to exercise. Allow a couple of hours after a meal before
rigorous exercise. This gives your stomach time to empty itself.
10. Chew gum. Chewing gum encourages the production of saliva, which
can soothe your esophagus and wash acid down into your stomach.
11. Quit smoking. Smoking is a double threat when it comes to
heartburn. Not only can cigarette smoke irritate your GI tract, but smoking can
also relax the esophageal muscles that keep stomach acid where it
12. Talk to your doctor about the medications you take. Some
medications may cause or worsen heartburn, including NSAIDs, some osteoporosis
drugs, some heart and blood pressure drugs, some hormone medications, some
asthma medications, and some depression medications. Just as everyone's food
triggers for heartburn can be different, so can medication triggers.
Heartburn: When You Should See Your Doctor
If lifestyle changes don't help you manage your heartburn, it may be time
for medication or other treatment. Call your doctor if:
- Your heartburn doesn't go away.
- You have trouble swallowing.
- Your heartburn causes vomiting.
- You still have heartburn after using antacids for two weeks.
Never ignore persistent heartburn. Left untreated, chronic acid reflux can
scar and narrow your esophagus, cautions Gary Gitnick, MD, chief of digestive
diseases/gastroenterology at UCLA. At its worst, untreated chronic heartburn --
a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) -- can develop into